The University of North Georgia has officially opened the doors of its new campus in Blue Ridge.
“UNG has a strong history of academic excellence and student success, and we are very excited about the opportunities this campus presents for students in this area to complete college,” said UNG President Bonita Jacobs at a ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday. “While we have students from 46 states, we know that about 85 percent of our students come from a 30-county area in northeast Georgia, and this campus helps UNG fulfill its mission as a regional university to increase educational opportunity that leads to economic development.”
The Blue Ridge campus was created to provide greater access to higher education in the region, according to a release from the university.
The state legislature and the University System of Georgia Board of Regents approved $943,000 this spring to establish the new campus.
UNG Blue Ridge will offer dual-enrollment courses, a full-time program for freshmen, courses for adult learners and continuing education programs for career growth or personal enrichment.
Next year, the university will establish a two-year program it hopes will be the signature element of the campus.
Full-time students will learn through an “interdisciplinary curriculum,” designed to take advantage of the region’s resources for learning in and out of the classroom.
“Today’s opening of the UNG Blue Ridge instruction site is an historic occasion in that it makes access to affordable, quality higher education in this part of Georgia permanent,” said Speaker of the House David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge.
“This facility will allow students to further their education at one of Georgia’s best universities and prepare them to compete in the workforce with confidence.”
State Sen. Steve Gooch, R-Dahlonega, called the opening “a big day for Fannin County.”
“We’re literally opening the floodgates when we cut the ribbon to open this facility — the information, the resources, the technology and the opportunities for the young people to come and learn,” Gooch said. “They won’t have to drive down the mountain to Dahlonega, Athens, Atlanta or wherever, they can stay home and get an education. It’s going to bring economic development opportunities to the area as well. I’m just proud to be a part of it and share it with the community.”